means "compensated dating" and is the Japanese language term for the practice of older men giving money and/or luxury gifts to attractive women for their companionship or possibly for sexual favors.
The female participants range from school girls to housewives.
Enjo-kōsai does not always involve some form of sexual activity.
The most common connotation is that it is a form of child prostitution whereby participating girls sell their bodies in exchange for designer goods or money.
However, enjo-kōsai is distinct from the most basic definition of prostitution (whereby a person attains money through the exchange of sexual acts) and insist that these other activities define enjo-kōsai.
Anthropologist Laura Miller argues in her research that the majority of enjo-kōsai dates consists of groups of girls going with a group of older men to a karaoke bar for several hours and being paid for their time.
Furthermore, in a 1998 survey by the Asian Women's Fund, researchers found that fewer than 10 percent of all high school girls engage in enjo-kōsai and over 90 percent of the girls interviewed attested to feeling uncomfortable with the exchange or purchase of sexual services for money.
Typically, it is perceived as an extension of Japan's growing focus on materialism, much of which is what critics claim is the cause of enjo-kōsai.
Critics worry that girls involved in enjo-kōsai will grow up to be unfit wives and mothers.This perception arises from suspicions that when these girls are adults, they will quickly abandon their loyalties and commitments to their family for offers of money and material benefits.However, certain feminist groups and critics regard enjo-kōsai as an empowering way to "undermine patriarchal models of propriety used to evaluate and control women".Control over their bodies and means to support themselves is a new kind of independence for these girls.Good women in Japan are supposed to be sensible, modest, nurturing and respectful, yet girls participating in enjo-kōsai clearly reject such virtues of female restraint and modesty in Japan.Feminists such as Chizuko Ueno point out that the accidental access of girls to this dating market was not a matter of ethics, but of probability.